Recently I made some kalbi for friends and thought I'd share the preparation because, well, more people should try it! Consider me on a kalbi mission, sharing the kalbi love with the world.
I stopped at the Korean market to pick up all the ban chan or side dishes (which you can do, too if you live in a bigish city), but the kalbi I always make myself.
I bought some beef ribs (about 10 lbs.) at Costco and they weren't sliced thin enough for the typical preparation. Don't worry, though. My mom always butterflied them so they'd cook more quickly and evenly and you can easily do that if you can't find the thinly sliced ribs required for kalbi.
Here are the essential ingredients for the marinade: soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, honey, asian pear (which I grate), green onions, and garlic. The red-topped contraption is my Japanese sesame seed grinder, available at any Japanese market. You can use a mortar and pestle or food processor to grind your sesame seeds.
In terms of a recipe, I usually eye-ball so I will do my best to explain it. The marinade is for about 10 pounds of ribs. In a large bowl combine: 1 bunch of chopped green onions, 1 grated Asian pear, a good handful of toasted sesame seeds, and another handful of ground, toasted sesame seeds, 8-10 cloves of chopped garlic, and a hefty squeeze of honey. Mix this up then add soy sauce (start with a half cup), and sesame oil (about a quarter to a third cup). Mix again.
The marinade before the ribs are added.
The shortribs. Notice they are cut across the bones.
Butterflying the ribs. Slice each rib lengthwise almost to the bone, the cut crosswise. When putting ribs in the marinade, make sure to work it into all the cracks and crevices.
The meat in the marinade. The way I was taught to make it, the meat should not be swimming in marinade. The ribs should be "damp" or just moistened, so start with a small amount of soy sauce an increase it if you need more liquid. Let them hang out in the marinade at least a couple of hours or up to overnight. Then fire up the grill and cook until desired doneness.
Traditionally, kalbi is served with steamed rice and red or green lettuce leaves to wrap each bite. (You place some meat and rice in the lettuce and wrap up like a burrito. Dip it in ssamjang sauce if you like.) I, of course. forgot to take a photo of the finished ribs, and when I remembered, they were all gone.
This is by far my kids' favorite dish. If you make these, let me know how they turned out!